By: Gifty Arthur
Members of Parliament (MP) have unanimously, put a break on the decision by the Akufo-Addo government to divert, a whopping 80 percent of the District Assembly Common (DACF) to finance its 2016 election campaign promises.
The decision will leave government in desperate search for cash to finance its flagship programmes; already things are tight for the government with claims Free Senior High School (SHS) is swallowing the bulk of the nation’s funds.
The legislators, coming from both the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) sides, insisted that the funds, should strictly be applied using the old formula previously approved by Parliament.
Some of the government’s flagship policies the 80 percent funds was to support were: Planting for Food and Jobs (20%), Nation Builders’ Corps (NABco) (20%) and School Feeding programme (40%) totaling 80percent of the whole amount.
The remainder of the funds which was measly 20percent, was to be used by the Assembly for all it activities for the entire year, a situation many said was unacceptable.
The directive by Parliament comes few weeks after The Herald published plans by the government through the Common Fund Administrator, Naa Torshie Addo, to use the funds for different purposes, rather than what has been the case over the years.
The attention of this paper was first drawn to the issue by the former District Chief Executive (DCE) of Skyere Afram Plains, Donkoh Fuseina, following a meeting by Ms Naa Torshie with the various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executive at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi few months ago.
The former DCE, who said he was informed by some DCE, an appointee of President Nana Akufo-Addo, argued that the diversion of DACF, was going to have adverse effect on the assemblies, municipalities and metropolitan areas.
Donkoh Fuseina, expressed outrage pointing out if the plan is allowed, would worsen the already bad situation of the Assemblies.
His concern was later backed by the Minority MPs, who said they would use every available means to stop the Administrator from going ahead with the directive.
The MPs subsequently lodged complaint with the Speaker, Mike Aaron Oquaye to summon Ms Naa Torshie Addo, to brief the House over the issue.
The Speaker having acknowledged the wisdom in the Minority’s position, summoned the Administrator to appear before the House during which she was given the marching orders to go and ensure the formula for the disbursement of the Common Fund, is not tempered with.
Though the Tuesday June 19, 2018, meeting was held minus the media, reports say the Administrator, has been told not to go ahead with the government’s plan of diverting the funds.
Speaking to the media after their instruction to the Administrator, the NDC MP for Banda in the Brong Ahafo Region, Ibrahim Ahmed, is reported to have said “Both Majority and Minority sides of the House have resolved that government abides by the formula approved by Parliament for the disbursement of the District Assemblies Common Fund”.
In March 2018, the August House approved the formula for the disbursement of the DACF for the year pursuant to Article 252 (3) of the Constitution. In all, a total amount of GHc1, 812, 144, 435. 00 was then appropriated for disbursement over 19 line items.